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South Asia

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to reduce income equalities in the Indian sub-continent. (95800)

DFID’s programmes in South Asia operate in support of national government initiatives to reduce poverty and income inequality. Our programmes to do so in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan are set out in Country Assistance Plans agreed with the national Governments. The total of DFID bilateral assistance in 2005-06 to these countries was £437 million.

In addition to these funds, the UK Government contribute to European Community and UN activities.

DFID’s activities in individual countries to address poverty and income inequality are widely varied, and include:

Programmes to increase health and education outcomes for the poorest and most remote communities, with a particular focus on improving the health of mothers and children;

Rural livelihoods projects to improve and diversify agricultural incomes;

Support for governance reforms to improve the effectiveness of public expenditure management, leading to the allocation of further resources targeting the poorest;

Projects aimed at making improvements in the poorest urban areas;

Programmes to improve access to water and sanitation facilities;

Partnerships with agencies such as the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to achieve sustainable and equitable human development.